Narrative - Official Air Force Mission Description
Mission 198: Led by PFF aircraft, 675 B-17s and 188 B-24s are dispatched to hit the industrial area at Frankfurt, Germany; 590 B-17s and 170 B-24s hit the primary target; 46 B-17s bomb Ludwigshafen due to a deviation from planned bomb route; they claim 75-27-48 Luftwaffe aircraft; 24 B-17s and 5 B-24s are lost, 2 B-17s and 3 B-24s are damaged beyond repair and 116 B-17s and 19 B-24s are damaged; casualties are 22 KIA, 32 WIA and 299 MIA. Escort is 89 P-38s, 503 P-47s and 40 Ninth Air Force P-51s; they claim 47-6-14 Luftwaffe aircraft; 5 P-38s and 10 P-47s are lost, 1 P-38 is damaged beyond repair and 3 P-38s and 1 P-47 are damaged; casualties are 14 MIA. This is first Eighth Air Force mission in which more than 700 aircraft attack targets.
Mission 199: During the evening, 5 of 5 B-17s drop 1.2 million leaflets on Lille, Tours, Lorient, Nantes and Valenciennes, France without loss. HQ 458th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrives at Horshal St Faith, England from the US.
Source: THE ARMY AIR FORCES IN WORLD WAR II: COMBAT CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945 by Carter / Mueller, the Office of Air Force History,
source: 100th Bomb Group web page http://www.100thbg.com/
303BG Mission Report - Target: City area, Frankfurt, Germany (PFF Bombing). Crews Dispatched: 39 (358BS - 9, 359th - 10, 360th - 11, 427th - 4). Crews Lost: 1 crew, Lt. Fowler, 10 crewmembers. Length of Mission: 7 hours, 5 minutes. Bomb Load: 10 x 500 lb G.P. bombs. Altitude: Both Groups at 25,000 ft. Ammo Fired: 3,100 rounds.
Thirty-nine 303rd BG(H) B-17s took off. There were no abortions. All aircraft were loaded with 500-lb. M-17 cluster incendiary bombs.
The PFF equipment on the lead B-17 of the 41 CBW-A failed. It then made a series of "S" turns before reaching the bombing "initial point." These turns were made in an effort to get behind and bomb on the 41 CBW-B formation. The maneuver was unsuccessful and the 41 CBW-A formation failed to get back into a correct Combat Wing bombing formation. The 41 CBW-A bombing results could not be observed because of the solid cloud cover.
Flak for the 303BG-A Group was moderate and inaccurate, but was accurate for the 303BG-B Group. Fighter support was excellent. P-47s carried the formations to the IP where they were met by P-38s. Twenty-five to thirty enemy aircraft were observed and the 303BG-A Group experienced one attack by five ME-109s. The 303BG-B Group had no fighter attacks.
The No. 4 B-17 in the lead Squadron "A" Group, #42-39786, G.I. Sheets 427BS-R, encountered a rough and frustrating mission. The crew crossed the German coast with a faulty No. 2 engine and was forced to feather engine No. 4. Just before reaching the IP it developed a bad oil leak. Unable to stay with the formation, the bombs were jettisoned and the aircraft was soon hit by German FW-190s. Hits disabled the oxygen system, the interphone and many of the flight instruments. They dove to lower altitudes to reach cloud cover and used the autopilot to maintain flight. The damaged Fortress was hit by fighters numerous times before Lt. Fowler was forced to belly-land his Fort in a Belgian field at Solre-St. Gery.
44 aircraft assigned to this mission: Completed Mission - 38. Aborted - 4. Spare, Returned As Briefed - 2. 42-5404 Lovell, James MacNaughton - Aborted Ld Grp; turned back at 0825 hrs b/c exhaust stack broke on #3 and engine had to be feathered. 42-31346 Knapp, Paul B - Ld Grp; dropped fifty parcels of nickles plus 6x500 GP on target. 42-37885 Lotz, William H - Aborted Ld Grp; turned back over Lutiexworth at 0922 hrs due to drop in pressure in oxygen system from 375 lbs to 225 lbs 42-39784 Covington, Royston Truitt - turned back at 1007 hrs b/c #3 was throwing oil and caught fire. 42-39809 Smith, Roger Clement - aborted at 1019 hrs due to pilot's illness; jettisoned bombs in the Channel
source: 384th Bomb Group web page http://384thBombGroup.com/
388BG Mission Report - On this mission the 388th put up two Groups, "A" Group flew as lead and "B" Group was the low Group in the 45th Combat Wing "B" formation. 20 A/C plus one PFF A/C in the "A" Group and 22 A/C in the "B" Group took-off between 0715 and 0839 hours. Our A/C climbed singly through the overcast and formed above it, in clear weather. 5 A/C aborted because of mechanical reasons or weather.
The briefed route to the Target was followed and bombing was done on the PFF A/C from 24,000 feet. Strike photos show nothing but clouds.
Enemy a/c were in the Target area but attacked other formations with no attacks on this Group. Flak over the Target was moderate, low and to the left of the formation. Lt. Hennessey, was hit by flak over the Target, dropped out of formation and hit the deck.
37 of our A/C landed by 1429 hours. One A/C is missing, Lt. Hennessey in A/C 42-3285 "Mary Ellen".
source: 388th Bomb Group web page http://www.388bg.info
source: 392nd Bomb Group web page http://www.b24.net/missions/
401BG / 613BS Mission Report - On January 29th the Squadron dispatched eight crews to attack the city of Frankfurt, Germany. The Squadron, under the leadership of Major Brown, flying with Lt. Shotts' crew, flew as the Lead Squadron of the Group formation. All crews bombed the target and returned. T/Sgt. Thomas Urmson of Lt. Donald Jones' crew was slightly injured on this operation. The crews were: Shotts Stann Locher Rohner Stelzer Keith Jones Vokaty.
source: 613th Bombardment Squadron History
401BG / 614BS Mission Report - The 35 aircraft on this mission, the largest formation so far despatched by the 401st, was led by Major E.W. Brown. The target was an engineering works at Frankfurt, Germany, a well defended town. The flak targeted in on a three section flight of 615th B-17s led by Captain Bob Beers, and the burst of accurate flak sent all three aircraft crashing to the ground. A 612th aircraft also went down. Six 614th Squadron crews took part on this mission and were: Chapman, Peck, Kirkhuff, Smith, Cammack, Stimson.
source: 614th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
401BG / 615BS Mission Report - This was an all-out effort by the 8th Air Force on Frankfurt, and well over 800 four-engined aircraft were despatched, with an escort of 632 fighters. The 401st briefed 35 crews for the mission with Major E.W. Brown as the Air Commander. The flak and fighters caused the loss of 29 bombers, 4 of them from the 401st, three of them from the 615th Squadron. The Group ran into very heavy fighter opposition just after bombs away and the three 615th aircraft, flying as an element in the Low Box, were hit and exploded. The three crews were those of Capt. R.T. Beers, Lt. L.C. Van Syckle and Lt. D.T. Nicklawsky. The other ship to go down was 42-31486, piloted by Lt. John Tannahill of the 612th Squadron. 42-31077 Lewis, 42-31193 Beers (MIA), 42-31069 Gould, 42-40057 Nicklawsky (MIA), 42-31518 Gardner, 42-31012 Van Syckle (MIA).
source: 615th Bombardment Squadron History www.401bg.org
44BG Mission Report - The 67th participated in the bombing mission to Frankfurt, Germany today six planes departing this base at 0750 combined with the rest of the 44th Group. All six reached the target and bombed, but only five returned to base at 1405hours. 1st Lt. Harold H. Pinder and crew are MIA. Also MIA is a crew from the 66th Squadron - A/C #41-29157 piloted by 1st Lt. G.H. Maynard. This plane was observed to leave the formation and fly for a bit with another formation to the left. Shortly a fire broke out in the bomb bay and 2 chutes were seen to open, and disappeared into the undercast below. 67th A/C #42-7547 X Pinder, Harold H. 1st Lt. Pilot Burgettstown, PA. Officially reported POW Grono, Lawrence W. 2nd Lt. Co-pilot Minneapolis, Minn. Unreported; became POW, repatriated; died August 1944 Boomer, Donald S. 2nd Lt. Navigator Mesa, Arizona Officially reported POW Stubbs, Alvan E. 2nd Lt. Bombardier Oklahoma City, Ok. Unreported; but KIA, died in the nose turret. Hall, Earl W. T/Sgt. Engineer Parkersburg, W.Va. Unreported; but became POW Sofferman, Abe T/Sgt. Radio Oper. Bronx, New York Unreported; but later KIA Laucamp, Robert L. S/Sgt. Gunner Tipton, Iowa Unreported; but KIA, died in aircraft Robison, Jack C. S/Sgt. Gunner, RW Wabash, Indiana Unreported, but KIA, died in aircraft Paxton, William A. Jr. S/sgt. Tail Gun Brooklyn, New York Unreported; but KIA, died in aircraft Green, Milas L. S/Sgt. Gunner, LW Clyde, No. Carolina Officially reported POW Lt. Pinder relates: "We were met on the coast and on in by both Me 109s and FW 190s. At about 1102 hours we dropped out of control after about three separate enemy passes. We took 20 mm hits under the flight deck that cut the control cables - I couldn't get the auto pilot to take over control. One wing was on fire and at least #4 engine was out? Larry Grono parachuted, POW; repatriated approx. July but died in August from tuberculosis. Engineer Hall, Ass't Engineer Green and Radio Operator Sofferman parachuted, along with Lt. Pinder. Jack Robison pushed Green out the rear hatch and pulled his ripcord as Green was in shock from a 20 mm hit through both lower legs, but did not himself get out. "Sgt. Sofferman and I were on the loose for three months with Belgium Resistance group. But Sofferman was killed by German Secret Police in April '44 and I was captured," said Lt. Pinder.
source: 44th Bomb Group web page http://www.8thairforce.com/44thbg
24 planes dropped on Frankfurt with good results. One plane, Hula Wahine (42-7578) piloted by 2/Lt Ernest Bruce, lost all 4 superchargers. Fighting off repeated enemy fighter attacks while flying 75 feet over Belgium, the pilot crash landed at an RAF base with 2 wounded crewmen.
source: 446th Bomb Group www.446bg.com
447BG Mission Report - Between the hours of 0721 and 0745, 29 January 1944, 31 A/C of the 447th Bombardment Group (H), "A" group, took off.
source: 447 Bomb Group Association http://www.447bg.com
91st BG / 323nd BS Mission Report - Frankfurt, Germany, was the target for bombers of the 8th Air Force. That day, twelve 323rd crews and twelve 323rd ships took part in this mission. It was made possible because of the recent increase in strength of the squadron as well as the absence of so many losses as we have had in the past. Considerable enemy opposition was encountered both from their fighters and their flak. All ships returned safely without injury to their personnel, but some of the ships were quite severely damaged by flak, especially Ship #759. The top of its rudder was torn off in a collision with another ship, as well as being damaged by flak. Ships #746 and #712 reached enemy territory but had to return to base due to mechanical failures.
91st BG / 322nd BS Mission Report - Raid on Frankfurt, Germany. Bomb Load: 12 x 500; 6 x 500. Bombing Altitude: 22-25,000. Bombing Results: Dropped on PFF., 10/10 cloud. Time: Take off 0800. Target 1125. Ar. Base 1430. A.A. Fire: Moderate and inaccurate. Damage to A/C: 3 A/C,, minor damage; 1 A/C major damage. Fighter opposition: 30-40 E/A, mostly rocket-firing. A/C. Attacks were generally directed toward other groups.
In a continuous two-hour battle, beginning at Frankfurt, A/C 967 (Man o War), piloted by Lt. Burtt, was crippled by direct hits that knocked out two motors. Sgt. Wright was killed by a 20 mm. hit. His courage and spirit was an inspiration to the entire crew. With the third motor out, Man O War crashed in an English turnip field to fly no more. S/Sgt. Grubb (R/O) injured by fragment from a 20 mm. explosion, was the only other casualty.
91st BG / 324th BS Mission Report - Target: Frankfurt Center of City Bombing results unobserved - 10/10ths. Enemy aircraft very aggressive. Enemy rockets accounted for some B-17's. Flak was moderate and inaccurate for our aircraft. Two of which were damaged slightly. Fighter cover was fair, many gaps without escort.